What does your Change Champion Network look like within your organisation?

Chloe Lewis

As a Change Manager, you are responsible for getting users to adopt and engage with the new system or processes, and one of the biggest challenges to try and overcome is developing ways in which you can motivate hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people, to embrace simpler, smarter new ways of working.

You may be familiar with the ‘Kübler-Ross change Curve’ which is often a staple image used for explaining the different phases in which a person will experience change. However, it is important to remember change is individual, and so is their journey accepting it. There won’t be a one size fits all approach, but that doesn’t mean you cannot reach a common ground in implementing change. Mobilising an effective Change Champion Network that includes impacted people to help inspire their colleagues and contribute to ways that will engage them is one of the most valuable tools you can use – no matter how experienced a Change Manager you may be.  


What skills do Change Champions need?

The size of your network can vary depending on the size of your organisation and scale of impact expected from your project. I have worked with networks ranging from just 15 people, to more recently being responsible for establishing a network of 200+ people. No matter the size, you will often seek nominees with similar characteristics, qualities, and experiences, such as:

  • A desire to help others as part of a team
  • Capacity (time) to help
  • Respected and influential amongst peers
  • Expertise in the subject, department, or system
  • Good communication skills are crucial

Vs key Change Champion expectations:  

  • Act as a ‘champion” or project advocate to their colleagues and peers
  • Support the project team to convey key messages to their respective audiences, adding another communication channel to the Change team’s resources
  • Reporting back to the project change team with updates/issues, providing invaluable insights that will help determine overall user readiness. Such as knowing how messages are landing and what questions the users are having.

A huge amount of money within organisations is consistently spent on conveying important messages internally, but very rarely do they land successfully as there is a clear disconnect between leadership and teams.

Why do I need a network?

The short answer … to maximise adoption and acceptance across an organisation.

Establishing a means for two-way communication early on so that users feel heard, and their thoughts and ideas are taken onboard is essential and will enable you to have a true understanding of areas to utilise or concerns to address. They are not simply being told what to do but are part of the process to ensure that what is changing will work for them and their colleagues.

Whilst Change Champions are not part of the formal project team, they have a considerable amount of influence for which the Project are heavily dependent on. They need to be regularly updated about upcoming activities and aware of what their expected role is within each of those. Many of your network nominees will become Super Users or Subject Matter Experts who will become proficient in the new process or system. A resource that will be vital not only at go-live, but through Hypercare and into Business as Usual to support the project team and colleagues to answering questions and protect the Centre of Excellence (CoE) team from being overwhelmed with issues and requests.

Change can be overwhelming for some and one of the best tools in which to overcome some of these concerns and to reach people on a more personal level, is to set up a Change Champion Network that is willing to accept new ways of doing things and is motivated to support their colleagues to moving to the new ways of working also.

Whether this thought leadership piece acts as an important reminder to keep engaging with your Champion Network or, you find yourself without this structure and are now wondering if this could have been the difference between a sustainable and simpler change implementation or the chaotic, unadopted one you have been used to. Please reach out to us at Sysdoc so we can map out your goals, challenges and ambitions for 2022 and beyond.

We can help you achieve, simpler, smarter working.

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